Week 9 Game Matchup: UCLA Bruins VS. Oregon State Beavers
UCLA Bruins (3-4) vs. Oregon State Beavers (4-3)
Saturday, October 31, 1:00 PM PST
Las Vegas Favorite: Oregon State -9.5
Sam’s Take (36 – 14):
Both Oregon State and UCLA suffered disappointing losses last week, but for far different reasons. The Beavers gave the Trojans everything they wanted plus some (OSU outgained ‘SC 482-429 yards), and a special teams breakdown may have been the only thing preventing OSU from a 3-1 record in the Pac-10. Meanwhile, UCLA found a way to lose to UA despite generating five turnovers, as the Bruins offense looked hopelessly lost.
It’s hard to envision a UCLA win here, especially with the way OSU’s Sean Canfield is playing (1,734 yards 11 TDs, 4 INTS, 68.2 % completions). Obviously, we know the Rodgers brothers will always get their yards, but when Canfield is throwing well the Beavers can pile up points on anyone. I have been most impressed by the offensive balance from Mike Riley’s team in the last few games, as players like WR Damola Adeniji, and TE Joe Halahuni have given the offense another dimension.
A strong argument could be made that RB ‘Quizz Rodgers deserves to go to New York for the Heisman Presentation. He has accounted for 1,089 total yards (810 rushing) and 15 TDs, including a 113 yard, 1 TD day against a Trojans D that ranks fifth nationally against the run. While UCLA features a stout front seven led by DT Brain Price, I don’t think any defense can stop ‘Quizz right now.
For UCLA, the offense has to find an identity this week. As strong as Oregon State has looked on offense, the defense has proven to be vulnerable (particularly against the pass). I am interested to see what Rick Neuheisel does at the QB position if Kevin Prince struggles early. Will we see QB Richard Brehaut take meaningful snaps in Corvallis? RB Jonathan Franklin has proven to be a reliable playmaker, but the overall lack of explosion in Norm Chow’s offense is very disconcerting.
I still have great respect for the UCLA defense, but until the offense can show some signs of life, the losing skid will continue. I look for Oregon State to come away with a workmanlike victory at Reser Stadium.
Prediction: Oregon State 31 – UCLA 20
UCLA Player to Keep an Eye On: S Rahim Moore – The highly-instinctive Moore has been a bright spot for the Bruins all season, and he enters Saturday’s game looking to add to his NCAA-best seven interceptions.
Oregon State Player to Keep an Eye On: WR Casey Kjos – Kjos only has six catches on the year, but he showed great route-running ability last week against USC and I believe he will contribute more and more as the season progresses.
Dave’s Take (39 – 11):
After yet another respectable game last week (albeit in a losing effort), Oregon State has firmly placed themselves in that “best of the rest” category with Arizona behind Oregon and USC. UCLA on the other hand looks completely lost; even with all of the turnovers last week, the offense never gave the team a chance to win.
As brilliantly as Sean Canfield has been playing, the real story in this one just might be UCLA’s inability to stop the run. Since conference play has started, UCLA has given up over 200 yards rushing in three of the four games they have played, with their “best” effort coming against Stanford where they gave up 174 yards rushing and Toby Gerhart had 134 yards and three touchdowns.
Since that Stanford game, UCLA has given up 719 rushing yards, good for just under 240/game. Going up against one of the premiere backs in the entire country in Jacquizz Rodgers, do you really expect things to get better this week?
Even if the Bruins can find some answers on offense against a less-than-stellar Beavers defense, I can’t see them finding any way to keep up with this offense, which has been outstanding in conference play and should continue to be this week. With two potentially winnable games at home against Washington and ASU as well as a road game against Washington State coming up, UCLA’s bowl dreams aren’t completely shattered just yet; but I don’t think the game in Corvallis is going to help any.
Prediction: Oregon State 34 – UCLA 17